- Title: FRANCE: France plays down rift with U.S over Haiti
- Date: 20th January 2010
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (JANUARY 19, 2010) (REUTERS) ***FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** EXTERIOR OF FOREIGN MINISTRY CONFERENCE CENTRE FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER BERNARD KOUCHNER ARRIVING PHOTOGRAPHERS AND CAMERAMEN FILMING KOUCHNER KOUCHNER SPEAKING JOURNALISTS LISTENING KOUCHNER`S HANDS (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER BERNARD KOUCHNER SAYING: "From now on we have to think past the immediate aid to the reconstruction, although it seems really early, and we are doing this. We have to give Haiti the guarantee that we will not abandon them after this urgent humanitarian phase." CAMERAMAN FILMING (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER BERNARD KOUCHNER SAYING: "This is not the time to talk about a few misunderstandings, which are not the issue compared to the aid effort and results. There are always small quarrels at the time of large catastrophes." PHOTOGRAPHER KOUCHNER SPEAKING
- Embargoed: 4th February 2010 12:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA4C97EOKZAVI43PQHQVJYHUQOF
- Story Text: France played down reports of a rift with the United States over its management of the airport in Haiti since last week's devastating earthquake, saying cooperation between the two countries was going well.
"This is not the time to talk about a few misunderstandings, which are not the issue compared to the aid effort and results. There are always small quarrels at the time of large catastrophes," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told journalists on Tuesday (January 19).
Reports of the rift surfaced after a junior minister, Alain Joyandet, who is attached to the foreign ministry, said he had protested to U.S. authorities that a French plane carrying humanitarian aid was prevented from landing at the U.S.-controlled airport in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.
With Haiti's main port out of operation, the huge international relief operation has had to use Port-au-Prince's congested airport, which has delayed the arrival of urgently needed medical and food supplies.
More than 30 countries have rushed relief to Haiti since the quake, choking the airspace and ground facilities at the small airfield, which has only one runway.
The U.S. military has said it is doing its best to get as many planes as possible into Port-au-Prince.
Haitian officials have said the death toll from the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, which destroyed much of the capital on Jan 12, was likely to be between 100,000 and 200,000.
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